Send Me No Flowers (1964)
Although her husband George (Rock Hudson) is a complete and utter hypochondriac who pops pills instead of eating breakfast, life isn't that bad for Judy Kimball (Doris Day). For George it's another matter as after a visit to his doctors he gets the notion that he has just weeks to live. Rather than tell Judy the dire news he enlists the help of their best friend Arnold (Tony Randall) in making sure that everything is prepared for when he passes on, including finding Judy a new male companion so that she doesn't end up lonely. But George's sudden erratic behaviour causes Judy to become suspicious and her suspicions leads to even more confusion.
It may surprise some people, but whilst the romantic comedies of Doris Day and Rock Hudson are some of Day's most popular they only actually made 3 together, even if it often feels like they made more. And whilst the first two, "Pillow Talk" and "Lover Come Back" were similar but enjoyable, their third and final movie together "Send Me No Flowers" ended up both different and lacking something. That something is a storyline surrounding confusion which feels more like something you would expect from American sitcom than a movie.
That feeling of being more akin to an American sitcom hits your right from the start with Judy venturing outside her picturesque home to pick up the milk and papers only to be locked out, and to make matters worse her dressing gown is caught in the door so you guessed it, dressing gown comes off, milk and papers hit the floor and Judy sneaks around to find an open window in just her night dress. It's certainly amusing, but not only does it have no relevance to the movie but also starts to give it that sensation of being a 60s sitcom. That light hearted sitcom feel continues when we meet George whose medicine cabinet has more bottles and pills than your local pharmacist.
Having given us this amusingly, twee opening it doesn't take long for "Send Me No Flowers" to get into the main part of the movie with George at his doctors over hearing a phone conversation and being the hypochondriac that he is jumping to conclusions that the bad news is his. A good idea - for a sitcom, but what follows with George and Arnold trying to find a suitable suitor for Judy ends up as repetitive. It starts well, with some genuinely amusing scenes as George organizes his own burial plot and on the gold course where he and Arnold work their way through a list of possible men. But by the third or fourth repeat of the same joke it starts to drag and feel tires. Don't get me wrong as it's amusing but it's a slim idea better suited to a sitcom rather than stretched out to fill an entire movie.
How does this all end, well obviously of course as "Send Me No Flowers" is essentially a funny 60's romantic comedy and to give anything but an obvious and happy ending would not be right. But before we get there, there is some amusement from the confusion as Judy suspects George of having affair thanks to his suspicious behaviour.
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Of course what makes it all good fun is not just the pairing of Doris Day and Rock Hudson but also Tony Randall who is the third person in all these romantic comedies. Doris Day as you would expect is as lovely as ever, delivering moments of facial humour with her over exaggerated looks of surprise whilst Rock Hudson is an over the top hoot as her hypochondriac husband. But it is Tony Randall who goes to extremes of silliness as their best friend Arnold which really shines out in this third movie, with scenes surrounding him hitting the bottle plainly hilarious. Also making "Send Me No Flowers" is a minor role for Paul Lynde as Mr. Akins the enthusiastic manager of the local cemetery whose nasal voice is funny enough on it's own.
All in all "Send Me No Flowers" is a funny, stereotypical romantic comedy from the 60s and although not the best of the Doris Day and Rock Hudson movies is still entertaining. It suffers because the storyline surrounding confusion over dieing being stretched out to the point that it drifts off towards becoming dull and repetitive. But it's worth a watch especially if all you want is an inoffensive rom-com from when times were simpler.
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Title: Send Me No Flowers
Director: Norman Jewison
Cast: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall, Paul Lynde, Hal March, Edward Andrews, Patricia Barry, Clint Walker